A Spinner in the Sun (Chapter 3, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 3

A rap at the door roused Miss Evelina from a deadly stupor which seemed stabbed through with daggers of pain. She sat quite still, determined not to open the door. Presently, she heard the sound of retreating footsteps, and was reassured. Then she saw a bit of folded paper which had been slipped under the door, and, mechanically, she picked it up.

"Here's your supper," the note read, briefly. "When you get done, leave the tray outside. I'll come and get it. I would like to have you come over if you want to.--Mehitable Smith."

Touched by the unexpected kindness, Miss Evelina took in the tray. There was a bowl of soup, steaming hot, a baked potato, a bit of thin steak, fried, in country fashion, two crisp, buttered rolls, and a pot of tea. Faint and sick of heart, she pushed it aside, then in simple justice to Miss Hitty, tasted of the soup. A little later, she put the tray out on the doorstep again, having eaten as she had not eaten for months.

She considered the chain of circumstances that had led her back to Rushton. First, the knowledge that Doctor Dexter had left the place for good. She had heard of that, long ago, but, until now, no one had told her that he had returned. She had thought it impossible for him ever to return--even to think of it again, Otherwise--here the thread of her thought snapped, and she clutched at the vial of laudanum which, as always, was in the bag at her belt. She perceived that the way of escape was closed to her. Broken in spirit though she was, she was yet too proud to die like a dog at Anthony Dexter's door, even after five-and-twenty years.

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